How the politically connected control the New York court system
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Posted on: June 7, 2017
By Julia Marsh | June 7, 2017 | New York Post
Manhattan lawyers knew Judge Joan Kenney was “confrontational,” “abusive” and “outright nasty” — and said so on a judge-ranking Web site, The Robing Room.
One fed-up attorney went further, complaining to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct that she was “rude” and failed to display “judicial temperament” during a settlement conference.
The city Bar Association publicly branded her with a damning “Not Approved” rating in 2010, saying she failed “to affirmatively demonstrate the requisite qualifications” to sit in judgment of others.
And last year, she was “universally not respected” by a Democratic screening committee that blocked her bid to run for a seat on the state Supreme Court, a panel member told The Post.
But none of the red flags affected her seat on the bench — or even her 2009 promotion to acting Supreme Court justice, for which she scored her first annual renewal just two months after being deemed unfit by the Bar Association.
That all ended on May 9, when Kenney showed up to court an hour late and disheveled, then erupted in fury at reporters taking notes in the public gallery.
“You can’t write everything I say. I think out loud,” she ordered. “In this courtroom, I’m the boss.”
She was demoted to handling lesser matters in Manhattan Civil Court — to which she was elected in 2000 and 2010 — and her conduct cost her the $13,600-a-year salary differential between the two jobs.
It also shone a light on the political machinations that turn lawyers into judges in the Big Apple, where the road to the bench has long been shadowed by suspicions that corrupt pols were putting unqualified hacks on the bench.
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